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Edgar Morin’s tribute to Alain Touraine: A ‘nice thoughts’ who was ‘enthusiastic about all that’s in movement’

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Op-Ed

French sociologist Alain Touraine, who labored extensively on points round labor, feminism, and capitalism in France and overseas, died in Paris on June 9. Thinker and sociologist of the idea of data Edgar Morin pays tribute.

Revealed on June 12, 2023, at 6:50 pm (Paris) Time to 2 min. Lire en français

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Alain Touraine was 4 years my junior, so he couldn’t have belonged to the era of the French Resistance. A pupil on the École Normale Supérieure (ENS), he was deeply influenced by Georges Friedmann’s work on manufacturing facility employees. He left his research on the ENS to go and work in factories, to get an insider’s view of the working class. Friedmann suggested him to complete his research and be part of France’s Nationwide Middle for Scientific Analysis (CNRS), the place he might examine the working world and circumstances.

So it was that Alain Touraine joined the CNRS the identical 12 months I did, in 1951, to concentrate on his main preoccupation. The mandarins of sociology quickly adopted him. Nonetheless, he remained impartial of them, as he did in Might ’68, when he absolutely understood the coed and in style revolts and their aftermath.

Earlier, within the early Nineteen Sixties, when Unesco arrange a faculty of social sciences for all Latin American college students in Santiago de Chile, he was invited to attend at Friedmann’s instigation, as was I. We met in Santiago. I used to be primarily a instructor, and he was primarily a researcher into the working circumstances of Chilean miners. We each fell in love with Chile at first sight and, extra broadly, with Latin America, of which he turned among the finest sociological and human consultants. We shared this ardour all through our lives. In Santiago, he married the pleasant Adriana, the mom of his kids, who tragically died of sickness. I skilled the same grief with the lack of Edwige, a shared struggling that introduced us nearer collectively. We each discovered consoling salvation, he with Simonetta and I with Sabah.

An considerable physique of labor

After 1968, he turned serious about social actions – all the things that tends to remodel our society – together with commerce union actions, in style actions, feminist actions, whose historic significance he understood, and environmental actions. Whereas most sociologists work on points that don’t change and repeat themselves identically, he was one of many few who, quite the opposite, was enthusiastic about all the things cellular, dynamic, progressive, and inventive. His in depth physique of labor bears witness to this angle and fervour. His ebook La Sociologie de l’Motion (“The Sociology of Motion”) demonstrates this.

We had been linked not solely by shared concepts however by a fraternity which, for me, included huge esteem for his loyalty and rigor. He at all times confirmed a noble and rigorous stature in an atmosphere with loads of pettiness and ambition. Whereas more and more drained from the age of 90, he by no means ceased to write down and work on human subjectivity, a subject ignored by sociologists. He had fairly rightly found that these goal actions in society concerned a robust and intense subjectivity of their protagonists and that this dimension of the human topic – ignored by all supposedly objectivist science – was essential.

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